Monday, September 15, 2014

The Great Pretender

Former Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung, now Deputy Director of the Basic Law Committee, said a couple of days ago that "People wish to have universal suffrage in 2017, and they should not be deprived of their chance".

No argument with that, but then she turned stupid: "When you label it as true or false universal suffrage I think it's meaningless.  I mean you can't say that just because it's not the same as what I want and [sic] therefore it's not true universal suffrage".

I don't believe for one moment that Elsie Leung is too simple-minded to understand the difference between an election allowing voters to select from a range of candidates representing a wide spectrum of political viewpoints, and one where the choice is between 2 or 3 identikit candidates all effectively handpicked by the Chinese Communist Party.  In other words, she is pretending not to understand the difference with the intention of reducing a serious divergence on political principle to a mere question of personal preference, like the choice between Pepsi and Coke.

Leung is playing the fool for political advantage, and she wants you to be fooled too.  Don't be.

A Child's Guide to Hong Kong CE Elections

Saturday, September 13, 2014

News of the Century

Two New Telephones Go On Sale Today!

One of those eagerly awaiting the new devices, Mr Ned Ludd, said: "I have been waiting for this even longer than Hong Kong has been waiting for real democracy".

Special Feature Pages 1-93.

Today's other news:
  • Bubonic plague infects everyone in Manhattan
  • Entire North Polar icecap melts overnight - tsunamis kill millions
  • Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride through Tin Shui Wai
-- all on Page 94.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Naughty Phone Calls

Under the pretence of "protecting the young", the repellent Alliance for Sleaze and Hypocrisy has set up a hotline which mean-spirited individuals can call to grass on students who join the coming class boycott in support of genuine universal suffrage.

Of course\, it would also be possible for concerned individuals to call the number anonymously and tell the unlovely Alliance exactly what they think of them compiling (probably illegally) lists of young people engaged in a lawful protest.  After all, the Alliance's stated aim is to object to illegal means of pursuing democracy, and there is nothing illegal about the proposed action.  But you wouldn't do anything so naughty, now would you?
Courtesy of Hong Wrong, which has more on this.

It has only just occurred to me that Alliance head Robert Chow may have ambitions to become the next Chief Executive.  No one could suck up to Beijing so assiduously without hoping for something in return.  From positioning his previous organisation, the dishonestly-titled Silent Majority, as some sort of independent voice of the people, he has gone to acting like a Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution in a matter of weeks.  Creepy.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Outburst of the Day

Much as I would like to come up with long analytical pieces every morning demonstrating my deep insight into Hong Kong's precarious political situation, I don't often have the time - or the deep insight, come to that.  (How does Hemlock manage it?)  And I don't want this blog to become simply a Twitter-like stream of short splutters of outrage.  However, I will say that I find watching the news these days a painful experience - the main entertainment it offers is totting up the number of lies being paraded by the government and its allies:
  • There is still time to achieve consensus on political reform - LIE!  Unless you define "consensus" Beijing-style as shutting up and doing what you're told.  The door has been firmly slammed on any other option.
  • The 2017 vote will be "real democracy" - LIE!  Does anyone believe there will be any real choice between the candidates on offer?  Or that any of them will stand up for Hong Kong's interests when they conflict with those of Beijing?
  • We must not miss this golden opportunity to progress further towards democracy - LIE!  Can anyone explain to me how being able to vote freely for a candidate you don't want is any improvement on being unable to vote for one you do want?  There is no progress when the net effect is the same - no chance of being able to choose even a half-decent leader.  Better to retain the current system, so at least the least objectionable of Beijing's preferred 2 or 3 yes-men will not have the chance to falsely claim any sort of public mandate.
OK, that's today's splutter.  Thank you for your attention to this matter, as Hong Kong people like to write.

Monday, September 01, 2014

One Way Traffic

Before 1997, there was a slew of books predicting that the advent of Chinese rule would inevitably mean the death of Hong Kong.  For several years, I believed that they were wrong.  I would tell friends overseas who asked how life here had changed that the Chinese government had interfered far less than we all feared, and that by and large Hong Kong life went on much as before.

It is now apparent that these perceptions arose from a false sense of security.  In reality, Hong Kong has been in the position of a woman forced into an unwanted arranged marriage whose new husband chooses not to consummate it immediately - but eventually she is bound to get well and truly screwed.  And now we are.

Among the many betrayers of Hong Kong who have contributed to the dire situation we are in, one name stands out.  Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai CBE - prominent among the sudden patriots I wrote about yesterday - is Hong Kong's only member (one can hardly call her a representative, as she only represents herself) of the NPC Standing Committee that laid down the disastrous fake democracy blueprint delivered yesterday.  As such, she bears a special responsibility for its decision.

The Independent newspaper once asked "What is it about Rita Fan that makes Hong Kong hate her so?"  Well, one obvious reason is that she likes to lecture Hong Kong people on why they are all wrong about Beijing, and boast of her own unique insight into the Central Government's thinking.  A few days ago she warned Hong Kong people not to pressurise Beijing (as if a mouse could apply much pressure to an elephant!), and after yesterday's announcement she reinforced the message:
"If we want something done we have to persuade them in a manner that they can understand.  We should never persuade people in a manner that they feel unhappy about, that they feel they are being pressurised."
OK, so let us assume for a moment that Fan is right.  Since she claims to know how to persuade Beijing in a manner that it can understand, how has she used this knowledge to make them realise that the pseudo-democracy it proposes for Hong Kong can only exacerbate unrest, deepen division, and ultimately destroy the very "stability and prosperity of Hong Kong" to which the Beijing leadership so often claims to be committed?  And has she advised Beijing not to let Hong Kong people feel that they are being pressurised?

Well, nothing at all, and no, respectively.  Fan did not achieve the power and influence she so clearly enjoys by speaking uncomfortable truths to the powerful.  She will tell Beijing nothing about Hong Kong that it does not wish to hear.  And the narrative - or myth - Beijing prefers, and may even fool itself into believing, is of a contented and united populace loyally devoted to the motherland and grateful to the all-powerful Chinese Communist Party for the gifts it so munificently bestows on them, spoiled only by a negligible handful of dissident troublemakers stirring up disagreement.

Fan is not of course the only politician peddling this one-way traffic - passing down Beijing's imperious edicts to Hong Kong, while failing to help the Central Government understand the SAR's needs and concerns.  With a few honourable exceptions, most government ministers and the DAB's leaders are all guilty of the same thing.  But as Hong Kong's only member of the NPC Standing Committee, Fan was in a uniquely privileged position last week to make a real difference to Hong Kong's future.  By going along with a decision that will ensure future CEs continue to speak for the Central Government rather than representing the people of Hong Kong, she has sadly abused that privilege.

As the winter of our discontent deepens, what adds insult to injury is that not only has Fan welcomed the approaching iceberg, but she and fellow Beijing toady Lau Siu-kai, former head of the Central Policy Unit, have even blamed us - the Hong Kong people - for steering the ship into it.  According to them Beijing has taken a hard line against the democrats in Hong Kong, as Lau puts it, "simply because of the the pressure they apply on Beijing".  Yeah, sure - and without that we would surely be living in paradise...

PS - it's hard to believe when you look at her now, but Rita Fan was quite a beauty when she was young.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lest We Forget

A Basic Law Committee member and one of the most prominent of those I call the sudden patriots - those opportunistic old crones who did very well out of sucking up to the British for many years  before 1997, when they suddenly discovered a deep, abiding, and previously entirely unsuspected love for the motherland and became part of the new Hong Kong establishment that wins Beijing's trust by telling it exactly what it wants to hear.  ("Not the facts, ma'am, just not the facts.")  Rita Fan (also a CBE) is another leading member of this unsavoury crew.

As Hong Kong sinks deeper into the political mire with the release of Beijing's electoral proposals today, let us remember those who are helping the city to drown.

And incidentally someone seems to have done a spot of ethnic cleansing on Maria Tam's Wikipedia entry, which at the time of writing mentions her Hong Kong honours (GBM, GBS) but conveniently forgets her no-longer-PC British one.  Of course, anyone can edit Wikipedia...